By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
The $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill signed March 11, the American Rescue Plan Act, will bring $5.9 billion to Michigan, with millions slated for Dearborn, Dearborn Heights and Downriver communities.
Local governments likely will be able to use the money for infrastructure work and other city improvements. The amount going to cities and townships is based on population and poverty rates.
One infusion of funds will be released in about two months, with a second sum delivered next year. The money must be used by the end of the 2024 calendar year.
Dearborn will get $48.7 million, with Dearborn Heights slated to receive $25.9 million.
Downriver, Allen Park will get $2.66 million, with Lincoln Park receiving $20.2 million, Melvindale $1 million and Riverview $1.2 million.
Southgate will get $2.86 million, with Taylor receiving nearly $12 million, Trenton slated for $1.79 million and Wyandotte getting $2.45 million.
Relief and excitement about the money is mixed with cautious reservation among local mayors.
Lincoln Park Mayor Thomas Karnes said that while the stipulations on spending the money are still unknown, it is definitely a welcome addition to the city’s coffers.
“It will definitely help with the issues we have with our water system and with our roads,” he said.
Melvindale Mayor Wheeler Marsee said the city will come up with a plan soon, and will complete as many projects as possible within the funding guidelines.
“We are in the works of doing another road evaluation survey, and some major water projects, so good planning will get us the most bang for our buck,” he said.
Mary Laundroche, director of Dearborn’s Department of Public Information, said city officials are reviewing the parameters regulating the use of the federal funds, in conjunction with the budgetary impact of the pandemic, to determine the most effective ways to use the needed relief.
Other mayors were subdued in their response while awaiting guidelines and actual disbursement amounts.
Allen Park Mayor Gail McLeod said she is awaiting the federal guidelines and final numbers.
“We were told on a leadership call Monday that the numbers are still estimates and not finalized, and that the treasury needs to come out with some guidelines,” she said.
Riverview Mayor Andrew Swift said city officials have not decided on their project wish list yet.
“The amount may change before we actually receive it,” he said.
Dearborn Heights Mayor Bill Bazzi also was cautiously awaiting government criteria for the fund expenditure before he speculated how the money might be spent.
“Whatever is the most effective for our residents, within the government guidelines,” he said.